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Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner statement to BBC Countryfile

This is the full statement given to BBC Countryfile for the show aired on Sunday 12th June 2022.

I clearly publicly supported the Rural Crime Team in their decision to carry out a full and thorough police investigation into the death of the Sea Eagle – this was contrary to the position that was first expressed by the MP for West Dorset and I have continued to support such investigations taking place. The suggestion that this investigation was somehow politically impeded is therefore bizarre and entirely without merit.

Politicians, including myself as PCC, are not able to ‘direct or drop’ investigations – the police are operationally independent and have to be so, in order to uphold the law. Let me be crystal clear on this – I gave no assurances to Chris Loder MP except to reiterate that the investigation was an operational decision for Dorset Police. They had the resources and would do their job without fear or favour and investigate this matter as they would any potential crime.  

As regards the name used by the Rural Crime Team, what a team is called or isn’t called is an operational decision made by police staff and I have no involvement in that decision. Since coming into office, the Rural Crime Strategy for the county has been reviewed and there has been significant investment made in the Rural Crime Team, allocating additional officers to tackle all aspects of rural, wildlife and heritage-related crime in Dorset. Such investment is important to our rural communities and will continue. 

Further, it is a plain and simple fact that the Team continues to do what they have always done, which is to tackle all aspects of rural, wildlife and heritage-related crime in Dorset.

With regard to public scrutiny, there are already robust and effective procedures in place with regard to my work and that of my office and of course I acknowledge that there have been differing opinions regarding the sea eagle investigation, however, once again, let me state quite clearly, that the police are operationally independent and have conducted this investigation without any involvement from me in any way whatsoever.

Finally, I would like to say once again that the Dorset Police Rural Crime Team have my full and unwavering support in their efforts to investigate potential wildlife crime offences.


David Sidwick

Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset

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